Yoga for trauma

Since I started studying to become a dance movement therapist I have been interested in trauma. Working with sexually and physically abused women in my student years convinced me about the crucial role of the body in regaining one’s confidence back.

In my own life, during a difficult phase, dance and yoga were undoubtedly the main strategies I found to recover. Practicing several times a week hatha yoga and later iyengar yoga (my favorite style since then), I started to become stronger not only physically but much more important, mentally.

Now, working with war refugees and domestic violence sufferers I often use yoga stretching exercises combined with breathing and relaxation techniques to foster body awareness. And recently I found a very interesting way of yoga. Trauma Sensitive Yoga:  Evidenced based yoga oriented to treat people that have experienced trauma in their lives and suffer from PTSD.  Here a piece an article I need to read before attending the introductory course in Copenhagen next 30th of September 2017.

Current treatments for PTSD are informed by cognitive and pharmacologic models, as opposed to somatic regulation and interoceptive awareness. Body awareness has been shown to be central for consciousness and emotion regulation. Knowing how one feels depends on brain regions involved in the registration of internal  homeostasis.

Loss of body awareness, including alexithymia, and loss of affect regulation are thought to play a significant role in the pathology of PTSD, which has been shown to involve changes in physical self-awareness and in alterations in the
neural structures that register bodily states. Learning to notice, tolerate, manage, and reinterpret visceral sensations may substantially promote affect tolerance.

Van der Kolk et al (2004), Yoga as an adjunctive treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder: a randomized controlled trial.